Saturday, January 9, 2021

Great Adventure

I dreamt that my husband and I are at our favorite beach. The beach looks familiar but the condo where we usually stay and the neighboring condos are gone, replaced by long, gray barracks. I decide I’m going to camp out on the beach in a small, triangular, bright orange nylon pup tent. I set it up and drive stakes in the sand.

I look out the tent window and see a brilliant blue sky with a few wispy clouds like ostrich feathers. Suddenly a tsunami sweeps me away, still in the tent, which is riding the crest of an enormous wave. I’m amazed that I’m not underwater, and rather than experiencing terror, I feel exhilarated to be having this fantastic adventure.

Upon awakening I still feel oddly joyful rather than anxious. When trying to interpret the dream, I remember that the night before, a local Christian outreach group had sent me an email with the subject line “Great Adventure.” It urged the reader to follow God’s will at all times (Luke 22:42), trusting that He will provide “fantastic opportunities” to serve Him (Exodus 23:25; Joshua 24:24; etc.) and be joyful in His blessings (Psalm 32:11), even during trials and adversity (Acts 20:24).

Confirmation that I was on the right track in deciphering the dream came from a Charles Stanley devotional we read the morning after I had the dream, entitled “Fantastic Adventure.” It too reminded us that even when the world is in turmoil and our life seems like it is turned upside down, Christians can experience the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and the joy of His salvation (Psalm 21:1; Isaiah 61:3,10).

If we trust God and keep our minds fixed on Him, instead of on the world’s chaos, He will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3). Even better, we can eagerly anticipate that extraordinary times bring forth extraordinary opportunities to serve Him (Ephesians 5:16), as He guides us through a fantastic adventure. The Chinese pictograph for “crisis” is the same as the pictograph for “opportunity.”

During this past year of upheaval in everyone’s lifestyle, health, ministries, finances, and even liberties, the beach has been our place of refuge that God has so graciously provided for us. It is a place where we can enjoy the majesty and inspiration of His creation (Psalm 19:1), and relative peace and solitude encouraging us to grow closer to each other and to Him.

Yet it is also a place of tremendous contrasts. One moment the water may be as still as glass; the next, churned up by a raging storm, just as Jesus’ followers experienced on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:22-25). A thunderous downpour may be followed by the clean fragrance of ozone and a brightly colored rainbow on the horizon, reminding us of God’s faithfulness (Psalm 40:10; Lamentations 3:23), and of His covenant never again to destroy the earth by water (Genesis 9:11-17).

And so it is with our lives. Peace, joy and fulfillment in serving Him, interspersed with heartbreak over the staggering spread of the pandemic; loss of beloved brothers and sisters in Christ; and senseless division, hatred and even violence that render our once God-fearing nation (Psalm 33:12) scarcely recognizable and awaiting His judgment (Psalm 2:1-5).

In the dream, the beach was familiar but the housing situation was very different, our distinctive living quarters gone and now blending into dull uniformity. This may symbolize loss of personal property and privileges that we may hold dear, perhaps a warning from God not to become too attached to the things of this world (Matthew 6:19-21), even though He in His abundant benevolence has provided them (1 Timothy 6:17).

My camping out on the beach in a modest tent is reminiscent of the Israelites camping in the wilderness as they journeyed to the Promised Land (Exodus 33:7), and of God’s faithfulness to lead them by day and to tabernacle with them at night (Exodus 13:21-23). Once we are saved by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), His Holy Spirit enters the tabernacle of our body (2 Corinthians 1:22). Yet this mortal body is just a temporary dwelling for Him, and once we are absent from the body, we shall be present with the Lord, eternally in His presence (2 Corinthians 5:8).

To secure the tent, I placed stakes in the sand, clearly not intending this to be a permanent dwelling, nor to build a fortress in this transient earth (Matthew 7:24-27), but to allow mobility as God called me to the next lap of His journey. Similarly, the Israelites were able to wait overnight where God stopped them, uplifted by His Shekinah Glory filling the tabernacle, and to resume following Him the next day as He led them with a traveling cloud (Exodus 13:21-23).

The glorious, heavenly view through the tiny tent window calls to mind that we are to fix our gaze on Him and on things above, and not to become preoccupied with the cares of this world (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). With that perspective, we need not be troubled even by catastrophic events (2 Corinthians 4:8-16). In the dream, the tsunami was turned from a destructive force to a dynamo of energy that lifted me high above the current and allowed me to ride the crest of a great wave, experiencing a great adventure.

It reminded me of the disciples’ question about Jesus:  “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (Matthew 8:27).

The word “great” can mean not only “grand” or a superlative form of “good,” but also “awesome” in the sense of “terrible.”  Our God is not only supremely good (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 52:1), but also One to inspire awe and terror in His righteous judgment on those who mock Him and have not trusted His Son (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Psalm 9:8-17).

Yet God can turn even the most destructive blows from the devil into instruments for His children’s good and for His glory, as He did with Joseph sold into slavery (Genesis 50:20) and Christ on the cross. He can truly work all things together for good for those who love Him, who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

In these End Times, He may allow us to experience one or more great adventures. We can succumb to fear and despair as we face the onslaughts of the devil, or we can pass over them, uplifted by our Lord’s unseen hand, to experience the thrill of His sure victory (1 Corinthians 15:57) and the blessing of being used by Him to accomplish His perfect will.

God may have placed us here, like Queen Esther, for His purposes, “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). May we use these opportunities wisely, seeing them as fantastic opportunities rather than frightening ordeals. May we serve Him boldly and following His leading until He comes again!

The world may be sinking in chaos, but as born-again Christians (John 3:3-8), we have the blessed and lively hope (Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 1:3) of the Rapture! What greater adventure could there be than to instantaneously rise to the clouds, in glorified bodies that will never age, die, sin or feel pain or sorrow (1 Corinthians 15:35-57), united with Christ and with our loved ones in Him forever?

© 2021 Laurie Collett



Aritha said...

Yes, we have that blessed and lively hope to be always with Him.

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
When I read about the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation, I think, "oh, what a pity" when I come across 21:1 with the words, "...and there was no more sea."
Because I love the coast. Watching the waves break upon the beach, especially a pebbly beach or, even better, to stand at a rocky ledge on a windy day (at a safe distance!) and watch those waves break at the unyielding rock, causing sheets to fly up into the air.
But the Bible does use stormy waters as a symbol of restless nations (eg, Daniel 7:2.)
Perhaps the calming of the Sea of Galilee by a single command from Jesus is a good illustration of this. The Great Tribulation, when the nations will endure the stormiest times in all history, will be suddenly calmed from the moment when Jesus returns to claim the throne of his father David, in Jerusalem.
Wishing peace for you and Richard. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Aritha! Praise God for that blessed hope!
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
I agree -- the coast, at its best, inspires peace and joy in its beauty. Perhaps the "no more sea" of Revelation refers to the absence of boundaries, physical, and ideological, between nations and peoples.
Only Jesus can bring true peace -- come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Thanks as always for sharing your Scriptural insights. May God bless you and Alex,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie.

Time after time, God brought times of trial on Israel to make them think about their relationships with god. I suspect he is doing the same thing in america and around the world with the pandemic and loss of freedom that has resulted from government efforts to control it. Thankfully, God has promised to take care of those who lovew him, and in the end reward them for their faithfulness, giving them an eternal home with him. We have no reason to give in to the fear we see in those around us.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! May we remember that perfect love casts out fear, and that we are not to have the spirit of fear, but of a sound mind. God bless,

Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
your dream, to me, is an analogy of 'If we stay within the lORD (represented by the tent) we will be kept safe from the 'raging storms'.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Amen! He is our ark and refuge, and within Him we are safe from all onslaughts. God bless you,